THE ADMONITIONS OF ST. FRANCIS
II. The Evil of Self-will
God told Adam: "From every tree of the garden you may eat; but from the tree of knowledge of good and evil you must not eat" (Gen. 2: 16-17). Adam, then, could eat his fill of all of the trees in the garden, and as long as he did not act against obedience, he did not sin. A man eats of the tree that brings knowledge of good, when he claims that his good will comes from himself alone and prides himself on the good that God says and does in him. And so, at the devil's prompting and by transgressing God's command, the fruit becomes for him the fruit that brings knowledge of evil, and it is only right that he should pay the penalty.
III. Perfect and Imperfect Obedience
Our Lord tells us in the Gospel, "Everyone of you who does not renounce all that he possesses cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:33), and "He would save his life will lose it."
(Mt. 16:25). A man takes leave of all he possesses and loses both his body and his life when he gives himself up completely to obedience in the hands of his superior. Any good that he says or does which he knows is not against the will of his superior is true obedience. A subject may realize that there are many courses of action that would be better and more profitable to his soul than what his superior commands. In that case he should make an offering of his own will to God, and do his best to carry out what his superior commands. This is true and loving obedience which is pleasing to God and one's neighbor.
If a superior commands his subject anything that is against his conscience, the subject should not spurn his authority, even though he cannot obey him. If anyone persecutes him, a religious who prefers to suffer persecution rather than be separated from his confreres, certainly perseveres in true obedience, because he lays down his life for his brethren (cf. Jn 15:13). There are many religious who under the pretext of doing something more perfect than what their superior commands look behind and go to their own will that they have given up (cf. Prov. 26:11). People like that are murderers, and by their bad example they cause the loss of many souls.
IV. No one should claim the office of superior as his own
"I did not come to be served but to serve" (Mt. 20:28), our Lord tells us. Those who are put in charge of others should be no prouder of their office than if they had been appointed to wash the feet of their comrades. They should be no more upset at the loss of their authority than they would be if they were deprived of the task of washing feet. The more they are upset, the greater risk they incur to their souls.
Homily by Fr. Robert Altier - BSP Visitor
Feast of Corpus Christi
As we celebrate today this feast of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and the Blood of Jesus
Christ, we have come to the point that more than anything separates us from other Christians.
If we think of all the points we have in common (which a lot of people will like to talk about), we all believe in the Trinity, we all believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, we all believe that He died and rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. There are many things we hold in common, but the point of departure with almost all other Christians is the Eucharist. The Orthodox believe in the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament, and from there it begins to dwindle quickly. It is the Eucharist, more than anything, which sets us apart, which is most critical to our lives as Catholic people, because our belief in the Eucharist is that Jesus Christ is truly present there - Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. He is the Second Person of the Trinity so if we are going to profess our faith in the Trinity, it is the recognition that Our Lord promised He would remain with us all days until the end of the world, that He would not leave us orphans.
And so the question is how was He going to do that? Certainly, He is present in a number of different ways. He is present by His immensity as He is in all things, holding them in existence. He is present in His indwelling presence in all of those who are in the state of grace and that the Holy Trinity dwells within. One could suggest that maybe that is what He meant by the fact that He would not leave us orphans. But, in fact, He made it very clear in Saint John's Gospel, as we heard in the Gospel reading today, that He meant something far more specific than that: He was going to remain in the fullness of His person so that we would be able to be with Him and He would be with us. He told us that it was better if He left than if He remained because He said that the Spirit of Truth would not be able to come. It is the Holy Spirit Himself who we call down upon the bread and wine to change them into Our Lord's very Body and Blood so that Jesus Christ will be able to enter inside of us and not merely be there on the outside.
We need to think about what this really means for us. When we receive Holy Communion, we must keep in mind that it is not a symbol of Our Lord; it is not a piece of bread which suggests something to us; it is not a re-enactment of the Last Supper when we can think about how Jesus took bread and wine and gave them to His disciples; rather, what happens on the altar at Mass every day is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Just as Our Lady - along with Saint John, Saint Mary Magdalene, and that handful of faithful women - was there at Calvary, each one of us, every time we come to Mass, is at Calvary. Where the difference lies is that small group of faithful souls who was at the Cross was able to be there to witness the work of redemption, but on that day they were not able to receive the fruit of redemption, the fruit of the tree of life, which is the Cross; but we have that opportunity. Today and every day when we receive Jesus Christ, not only is He sacrificed for us on the altar, but we receive the fruit of that sacrifice: the very person of Jesus Christ.
When Our Lord told us that His flesh is true food and His blood is true drink, we must understand what He means by this. The Jewish people did not make that clear separation and distinction that the Greeks made and that we have made between body and soul. When He would talk about flesh, He meant His person. When He talked about His blood, the Jewish people understood that the life of the person was in the blood, and so to receive someone's blood is to receive their life. When we talk about the Eucharist and receiving Jesus and that this is His flesh, we are not talking about the fact that we are receiving a little piece of His flesh, as if we were cutting off a chunk from His arm or even a piece of His Sacred Heart or any other part of His body - not at all. When you receive Holy Communion this morning, you will receive the entire person of Jesus Christ. Each one of us will receive the entire person of Our Lord, not a little part of Our Lord, but the fullness of His being.
Now if we think about that for just a moment, we need to look at the love of Jesus in the Eucharist. First, [we see] the humility of Our Lord. Saint Paul tells us, in his Letter to the Philippians, that "Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, but rather He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men". But that was not enough for Him. As if to be able to demonstrate the absolute depth of His humility, it is not enough for Him to come down to earth in the form of a man, but He went beyond that and He gives Himself to us in the form of a piece of bread. If any one of us was offered the opportunity to be able to somehow give ourselves to someone or even just be present as a piece of bread, who of us would even think of such a thing? We would immediately protest that such a thing would be beneath our dignity. Yet here is Almighty God, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, in the form of a piece of bread - the omnipotent One present to us in utter humility and in passive form.
But there is a reason why he did this: It is because He loves you individually. He loves you so much that He wants to give Himself to you as a gift. Again, just stop and think for a moment. If Our Lord were to ask you the same thing that He asked Ahaz through the prophet Isaiah, "Ask for a sign. Ask for anything you want. Make it as high as the sky or as deep as the netherworld," who of us would ever say, "Lord, I want You to be present to me in such a way that I will be able to receive the fullness of your person into myself." We might say, like Moses, "Let me see Your face." We might say, like Philip did to Jesus, "Show us the Father and that will be enough for us." Even that, most of us would quake in our boots to even think of such a thing! But we might have enough arrogance (which really is what it would have to be for most of us) to ask such a thing. But who of us would ever ask God to give Himself to us in the form of a piece of bread so that we could consume our God?
But that is precisely what He has done for us. He has given Himself to us, first of all, through the words of the prophet Isaiah, in a way that we would never imagine, and that is to become a little baby. And now he has done something which is even more unimaginable; that is, to humiliate Himself to the point of being present in the form of a piece of bread. But at the moment of consecration, everything which makes that a piece of bread is completely changed; there is nothing left of bread except for the form. It is now the person of Jesus Christ: His Body, His Blood, His Soul, and His Divinity - the fullness of His being – present in each and every host so that each one of us, when we receive Holy Communion, receives the fullness of the person of Jesus Christ.
We need, then, to ask ourselves, "How do we receive? What is the disposition of our hearts?" To think that we would consume our God! But we must allow ourselves at the exact same moment to be consumed by our God: that as we receive Him, we allow Him to receive us; that as He gives Himself to us, we in turn give ourselves to Him so that there is this beautiful exchange that happens: As Our Lord gives His heart to us, we give our heart to Him. As He enters into our heart, we enter into His. As He gives His entire person to us, we need to give our entire person to Him. This is most intimate act that can ever happen. There is nothing more intimate that can possibly take place in this world. Yet it is merely a foreshadowing, a foretaste, of what we are called to for all eternity, where Our Lord has told us that He is going to prepare a banquet. Each one of us is called to the banquet of the Lamb where Jesus Himself will be the food upon which we feed. The bread of angels, which becomes the bread of man, is merely the foreshadowing of what He has for us for eternity.
If this is the foreshadowing - that we receive God, that we literally become the temple, the sanctuary, the holy place, where the Lamb of God makes His dwelling, where our heart becomes the throne for the King of kings, where the King of Heaven must become the King of our hearts - just think for a moment what that means for you. Your soul, for that time when Jesus is present, becomes Heaven. Think of the humility of Jesus Christ, that He is going to come into the soul of this sinner and He is going to make that place Heaven and He is going to make this heart His throne where He is going to worshiped by the holy angels! What kind of worship and adoration and thanksgiving must be ours?
We need to consider that because there is a real problem in Catholicism these days. I do not know that people would actually suggest this, but it is the way it would appear on the outside: As Catholics, we go to Mass on Sunday - and because we showed up we get a piece of bread; that is the "reward" for having come to Mass. That is not true at all. This is God, and He is present our souls sacramentally. Truly present, the saints tell us, for 15 - 20 minutes. So I have to ask the question: Why the beeline for the door? Why the rush for the parking lot when Jesus is present within our souls? Why do we not want to remain with Him as He is so willing to remain with us? Why the absolute rush to get out to the car when we could stay here in church and commune with Jesus Christ? If the goal that you have (without good reason) is to be the first one out of the parking lot so you can beat the rush, I have a suggestion: Be the last one to the parking lot and there won't be any rush then either. Remain with Our Lord.
Saint Francis de Sales, when people would leave after Communion, used to send two altar boys with candles to walk on either side of the person as they walked to their home because Jesus was within them and they were like a tabernacle. The Lord was right there; so in order to show the reverence that the person refused to show, Saint Francis would send the altar boys to escort the person home. There is a priest in our own day who was so frustrated with the fact that people were leaving Mass early. He had tried over and over to tell the people to quit leaving Mass early and to stay and make a thanksgiving and be with Our Lord. Finally, out of frustration, he made a huge sign and put it right above the back door. It said simply: Remember, Judas was the first one to leave Mass early.
We need to ponder that as we try to race out the door with Jesus within us. For what? So we can go out into traffic and commit some sins? Imagine, with Jesus present right in your heart, the filth that might come out of your mouth, the gestures you might make, the anger and the frustration that you experience when you get out into traffic. To sin with Jesus right there, what a sacrilege! How much better to stay here and to pray and to adore and to give thanks to the Lord for the gift which He has given to you. In return, give yourself to Him as a gift. Then, filled with that prayer and the peace that comes with it, you can go to the car and you can make a peaceful drive home without sin and be able to take that prayer and that love and that adoration out into the world. That is the way Our Lord would want us.
The early Christians were willing to die for the mystery of the Eucharist. They understood. Saint Paul made it very clear in his Letter to the Corinthians; we heard a little part of it today. Go home and read 1 Corinthians, chapters 10-11, and realize that these were written before the year 60 AD. Saint Paul lays the belief in the Eucharist out very clearly. Read John, chapter 6, and see the clear teaching that was understood from the very beginning of Christianity. Ask yourself, "Would I be willing to die for the Eucharist? Is my faith in the Real Presence such that I would be willing to give my life?" If your answer to that is "no" then I beg you to read those Scripture passages, go to an adoration chapel, get down on your knees, and ask Our Lord to demonstrate to you that He is truly present. He will. You will walk out a changed person if your heart is really open to allow Our Lord to work. And if your answer to that question of whether you would die for the Eucharist is "yes" then let me challenge you to go a step further on the practical level: Make sure when you receive Our Lord that you spend the time giving Him the proper adoration, the proper gratitude, the proper worship; spend the time with Him, communing with Him in your heart. That is why He gives Himself to you this way: so that you can actually receive God into your heart. You can love Him there and be loved by Him there.
If you would say that you would die for Him, then at least, every day, love Him, adore Him, worship Him, be with Him. Spend that time with Our Lord after receiving Him in Holy Communion. Do not try to race out of the church as quickly as you can - God is right there with you. Be with Him and grow in love for Him so that if the day ever comes that He will ask that ultimate sacrifice, you will have grown so perfectly in love that there will be no choice, there will be no hesitation: You will give yourself for Him as He has given Himself to and for you.
Note: Father Altier does not write his homilies in advance, but relies solely upon the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This text was transcribed from the audio recording with minimal editing.
ADMINISTRATOR'S MESSAGE: … A THING OF TIME…
"Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners…He did away with the everlasting character of death so as to make death a thing of time, not of eternity."
Office of Readings…Fifth Tuesday in Lent
St. Leo the Great, Pope
"I want to die with my eyes open." Those were words an old friend of mine shared with me recently. I had not seen him in more than two decades, but I remember that when I last knew him he was an agnostic. He doubted God existed and made that known quite happily while we were playing cards. Needless to say, I was surprised at his statement about his willingness to die.
The subject came up, of death that is, because we are both retired from 3M now and the next big thing after retirement is death. He was an engineer. I was a Human Resources manager. His HR manager, in a 3M manufacturing plant in Iowa. We became friends in those days. He was a card. Fun to be around. But, he did not believe in God although he had been raised Catholic.
When I asked him how he came to this new wisdom he said that some time back, in the last two decades that is, he took up a dare (I think from his wife) and received Holy Communion, believing it was 'just bread'. The Lord 'zapped' him when he did it, and He was immediately aware that the host was Jesus. He is a smart man. The host could not be Jesus unless what Jesus told us was true. "Eat my body and drink my blood." And if that great mystery was true so was everything else the Lord told us. So, once he was given the graces he acted on them, as so many don't, went to confession and returned in full to the Faith.
Death is a door. The door to eternal life. My friend wants to walk through it with his eyes wide open now. He knows he will meet Jesus there. So do we.
My father-in law used to say: "When you are dead you are dead for a long time." Like forever. The question of eternity is not a tough one. When you are dead you enter eternity. You are dead forever.
If you live for Christ, as you get older, you hunger for death. Yes, you fear judgment, but the best way to approach that is to be like St. Theresa of Lisieux. She saw herself as a child before God. The Lord said: "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (MT 18:3) She took that cue, and thought of herself running to God, her father, like she ran to her earthly father, who was dead long before she died at the age of 24. So, when she coughed up blood one day she was elated, and that was the beginning of the consummation, tuberculosis, that took her life. We do well to see ourselves running to God like a child, and not fearing Him.
Fear is useless. Where there is love there is no room for fear, St. John said, in his Epistle. "There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love." (1JN 4:18) The "fear of God" is really the fear of offending God. When we do offend Him we need to go to Confession and believe the cause for fear is no more. We believe in the love of God for His children, and like a child, once we are forgiven, we can again bounce around and run up to them for a hug, happy. We need to be happy to die to be with God.
So, death is not the enemy it was anymore, because death died when Christ rose from the dead. Death is no more. As Pope Leo said: "It is a thing of time". It is not a question of 'if' we will die. Only 'when', and if we will be ready. For what? To avoid eternal tragedy. To experience the joy and beauty of the enduring love of God. So, let's walk through the door with our eyes wide open. Ready to meet the Lord. Especially considering we are living the Rule of St. Francis to prepare for that meeting.
May God bless and lead us all!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
The Administrators, Minnesota
From the Second Reading, Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Janet Klasson BSP
"It is a question of fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance." (2 Corinthians 8: 13-14)
If you have ever seen a potter at work, his wheel spinning, hand guiding the clay, you will have noticed what a crucial part balance plays in the process. The moment the balance is lost, centrifugal force flings the clay off the wheel, and the potter has to begin again. I feel this is a fairly apt analogy for our world today. That inequity, inequality, and imbalance are at play in the world, is a glaring understatement. We are spinning off-kilter and it is only a matter of time before we fling ourselves off the wheel completely.
St. Paul tells us that "the love of money is the root of all evils" (1 Timothy 6:10). This saying is reinforced by a little-known eighth century monk named Autpertus, whose teachings on morals originally intended for his monks have new relevance in our day. He referred to greed "as the root of all evil, the only root of all the vices..." Pope Benedice XVI, in his general audience in April, commented on this saint's writings, saying, "In the light of the present global economic crisis, this analysis reveals all of its relevance: we see, in fact, that it is precisely from this root of greed that the entire crisis was born."
This obscure monk could have been teaching twenty-first century penitents when he said:
"The disdain of the world becomes important in their spirituality, a disdain not for the beauty of creation, but for the false view of the world presented to us by greed, which insinuates that possessing and appearing to be wealthy are the highest values of our existence...Even for those who are not monks, the Lord has proposed only two paths, one narrow and one wide, one steep and one easy."
Society has reached a tipping point and we know how we got here. Can there be any doubt that the world as we knew it is passing away? Yet there is hope. The Lord has not left us orphans, but has been preparing us through the writings of popes and prophets, and saints, through dreams and visions. Our Lord has been preparing us through fasting and prayer, to trust in his Divine Mercy. He is with us and he loves us.
It may be that we will need to band together as they did in the early church so that the needs of all the brothers and sisters in faith are met. The above passage from 2 Corinthians continues: "As it is written, 'The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little.'" Catholic social teaching at its roots.
We read in Exodus, that it was forbidden for the Israelites to gather more manna than they needed for the day. Why? God did not want them to depend on the manna, he wanted them to depend on HIM. He wanted them to know and believe that each day he would provide manna for them. Collecting more than a day's worth of manna implied a lack of trust in God's providence. This call to trust in God's providence is echoed in the Lord's Prayer, "Give us this day, our daily bread." Not this week, not this year. This day.
St. Faustina taught us to pray, "Jesus I trust in you." I believe that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us in these days what we are to do. Let us not be anxious or afraid, but remain docile to the voice of the Spirit speaking to our hearts. Pray and be at peace. Jesus in Mary, we trust in you.
Let us continue to pray for each other and for the whole world.
Janet Klasson BSP - Divine Mercy Chapter - Canada
NO GREATER LOVE: by PAUL BEERY BSP - June 2009
"He has put into my heart a marvelous love for the faithful ones who dwell in His land. Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows. Never will I offer their offerings of blood. Never will I take their name upon my lips." (Psalm 16)
From October 18 to December 3, 1961, 116,000 people visited New York's Museum of Modern Art before anyone noticed that Henri Matisse's painting 'Le Bateau' had been HUNG UPSIDE DOWN! I think this illustrates rather well the ways of the world, not to mention the place of modern art in it. Apparently it was too difficult to figure out what the painting was. God never does that to us. Paul the Apostle's first chapter to the Romans is a brilliant explanation of God's Masterpiece, the Creation. Even THE MOST SIMPLE AMONG US can easily understand all the facets of His Painting, as we stand in awe of the Creation, see the Hand of the Creator in everything, understand our place in it, and give Him glory.
But we live in a world that is upside down. The creature has replaced the Creator, and the thirst for power has gone to his head. There are many examples to prove the folly of this worldview. The most obvious is the Environmentalist dogma that man is in charge of the world. He actually thinks he is not only responsible for Global Warming, he is now going TO CHANGE THE CLIMATE! The arrogance of this position is mind boggling: mankind is going to CHANGE what Almighty God has created AND MAINTAINS IN EXISTENCE! Wow! And everyone marches along in this belief though there is not a shred of proof.
But it is merely symptomatic of the paradigm under which we are obliged to live. A recent edition of Our Sunday Visitor, not that they are alone among Catholics/Christians in accepting this humanistic paradigm, had two very unnerving articles. The first was on how groups of Catholics were joining Environmentalists in a CRUSADE to change the climate. How sad. So that's what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about: the acceptance of the false doctrines of a pagan religion. "Those who choose other gods INCREASE THEIR SORROWS." WE DON'T HAVE TO JOIN THEM! We don't have to commit the SIN OF IDOLOTRY. The Religion of Environmentalism has set up God's Creation as its idol, and forsaken the Creator! The Truth Detector broke on this one. If there was any semblance of truth to the claim that mankind caused some tiny fraction of global warming, they might have a case. But the hypothesis of carbon dioxide being a POLLUTANT is so fallacious the author should have been laughed out of town!
The truth is: God has given us one of the MOST PERFECT CLIMATES IN HISTORY in which to live. And what are His followers doing about it? Some of us are thanking and praising Him for the unbelievable beauty and bounty He has bestowed on us, in imitation of St. Francis. But others have joined with the idolaters who have turned the truth into a lie, and kicked dirt in the face of the Creator by somehow FINDING FAULT WITH PERFECTION! It can't get any uglier than that – such gross ingratitude! And guess what? Those who have joined mankind-hating Environmentalists have taken Francis of Assisi as their Patron! How would this arrogant bunch relate to our humble holy father? I can see Francis preaching about the love of God, and our honor to enter into a love relationship with Him, man being the crowning glory of His Creation; our obedience to God's law and the Magisterium of the Church, our submission to His dominion over us now and for all eternity: Environmentalists would quickly throw him overboard. That's not what they want to hear, for they are intolerant of the Truth, and does it ever show!
Rather Environmentalists hang the climate painting upside down. They take a gift of God, CO2 - a necessary ingredient for life on earth, and call it a pollutant, a cause of global catastrophe! It neither precedes nor causes warming, but FOLLOWS IT. Cardinal Pell pointed out that extraordinary solar activity brought us our warm climate, which produces more COMFORT for mankind, and increased levels of CO2, producing MORE FOOD. But the idolaters are not happy with the Truth, and I think God is losing His patience. He has turned down the heat. Can anyone blame Him? Experts in solar activity have never seen the sun so "inactive" as it has been for some time, and they now warn of a coming "little ice age." Remember that as you hear prophets of global warming doom continue to spread the Big Lie, or claim that warming causes cooling! Last year the global temperature dropped a full degree Fahrenheit, the LARGEST GLOBAL TEMPERATURE CHANGE EVER RECORDED! That's change you can believe in.
The other issue was "torture." It's defined as: "The infliction of excruciating pain, as from burning, crushing or wounding." The martyrs endured real torture. But the worldly have their own definition: "torture" is pouring water on the heads of (three!) terrorists. Really? Pretty gruesome stuff, almost as bad as being drawn and quartered, or stretched on the rack. World-wide headlines: we are to feel sorry for those bent on killing the innocent because they had water poured on their heads to find out who their next victims were. Am I missing something here? Apparently I'm totally lacking in compassion, for I have NONE in this case. Instead I feel anger at the news peddlers for deliberately choosing to create sympathy for terrorists, and opprobrium for those who fight these malefactors. The upside-down nature of this episode was captured in a cartoon showing the U.S. president telling a former CIA official: "We have decided not to prosecute you for keeping the country safe."
Another example of "torture" is brought to us courtesy of the UN, which should make us really value the prospect of One World Government. The UN chastised Nicaragua for a law outlawing abortion 3 years ago. They called it "torture," not for the infants that would suffer "excruciating pain as from crushing" and dismemberment from undergoing an abortion, but for the mothers who couldn't kill their babies.
None of the above makes sense unless one realizes that the world's governing principle is to promote and reward evil, while punishing those who do good. "If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you." THIS IS THE WAY OF THE WORLD, and WE DON'T HAVE TO JOIN IT! We don't have to join in the persecution of those who do good, and especially the followers of Jesus Christ! How could any "good" person, especially a believer, consciously do that? Look around. The cradle of Christianity, Europe, has publicly and definitively rejected its Christian heritage. America is following its example. "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," has become: (the Culture of) Death, Oppressive State Control, and the pursuit of vice by the dependent, aided and abetted by the State. In effect, America has accepted the governing philosophy of the French Revolution, along with other Secular Socialist nations, after having fought against it for over two hundred years. Truly our Founding Fathers would find this accommodation despicable. Is that an extreme statement? Look at the evidence. Evidence judges results, not good intentions. We have that on good Authority.
The Secular Socialist principle of promoting evil and punishing the good is easily seen in several front-line moral issues. The holocaust of abortion is State sponsored, approved, and preserved in spite of the will of the people. We are told that capital punishment is the moral equivalent of abortion. Only the "moral superiority" of the liberal mind can find that the death of several hundred guilty-as-sin murderers per year, via due process, outweighs the slaughter of a million innocent pre-born children!
The teaching of the "goodness" of homosexuality in government-run schools begins with children as early as in Kindergarten! Are there greater (personal) moral evils than abortion and homosexuality, especially as manifested in the push for same-sex marriage which seeks the utter destruction of the sanctity of marriage and family? For a Christian these are serious sins of the utmost importance, for lacking repentance, they will bring the loss of eternal salvation. Our Blessed Mother told us at Fatima that more souls go to hell because of sexual sins than any other reason. These are only two examples.
I propose a different paradigm to live by. Let's make God the center of our universe. Instead of merely reacting to the lies and often ludicrous fads of the worldly - MUCH LESS BELIEVING THEM – let's learn to love and serve God in holiness and purity of heart. We are the ones with the GOOD NEWS who should set the agenda and CHALLENGE THE WORLDLY WISE – "WHY AREN'T YOU RESPONDING TO THE GREATEST LOVE EVER OFFERED MANKIND? Instead of being glued to the little black box bringing the devil into the living room of every home (as prophesied by an American Saint)? You don't even know the meaning of the word LOVE." The faithful know. The unfaithful equivocate. Hence we should have a new definition of torture: "Catholic torture." It is pure torture for me to see believers misled by the lies and deceptions of the Evil One. I'd rather have water poured on my head and my fingernails pulled out!
"He has put into my heart a MARVELOUS LOVE for the FAITHFUL ONES who dwell in His land. Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows." AND OURS TOO! WE DON'T HAVE TO JOIN THEM! "Never will I offer their offerings of (abortion) blood. Never will I take their name upon my lips." BUT ONLY THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS! "I keep the Lord ever in my sight: since he is at my right hand, I SHALL STAND FIRM." Yet in the end, I know that I too am guilty of contributing in some way to the real torture of our Lord Jesus Christ in His Passion and death through my sins, which makes it even more incumbent upon me, on all of us, to be faithful to Jesus in proclaiming the Good News in spite of human weakness.
Paul Beery BSP - Morning Star Chapter - Minnesota
MORNING STAR: NEWS ON THE ASSOCIATION
RETREAT 2009 …NOTHING NEW TO REPORT
The retreat is taking shape. Father Tony will be the retreat master this year and the subject will be: "Franciscan spirituality and our call to be Instruments of Peace"
Right now we are booking reservations. The schedule for the retreat will be published a couple of weeks before the retreat. The announcement following is a parish bulletin announcement for those who would like to publicize the retreat. The cost of the retreat is $180 again this year as last year, which includes room, meals, and necessary stipends. It will be held at the beautiful Franciscan Retreats center in Minneapolis. Call or email us now to book a reservation. A down-payment of $25 will hold your place. The full cost of the retreat must be paid by July 1st as we must guarantee attendance then and pay for those we guarantee even if they do not show.
Robin Gorton BSP, from Oklahoma, will make her profession at the retreat this year, to Father Tony. Please keep her in prayer. She will be our 29th professed member.
INVITATION TO THE PUBLIC
2009 RETREAT OPPORTUNITY
THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS (BSP)
"Franciscan spirituality and our call to be Instruments of Peace"
Father Anthony Cirignani OFM
We invite you to share our Retreat this year at the Franciscan Retreat Center in Prior lake, Minnesota.
The retreat will run from Friday evening, July 24th to Sunday noon, July 26th.
We will celebrate Mass on both Saturday and Sunday.
There will be ample opportunity for spiritual direction, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reconciliation, and silence, during the retreat. The total fee for the retreat is $180, and this includes room, board, meals and stipends. Each retreatant will have their own room and spouses may request adjoining and connected rooms if they like.
If you are interested in attending the retreat please send a $25, non-refundable, down-payment to the BSP, c/o Bruce and Shelley Fahey, at 20939 Quadrant Ave. N, Scandia, MN 55073, PH: 651-433-2753, email:
email@example.com, to reserve a place. You can also notify us via email of your intent to attend the retreat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to know about our Association please see our web site at: www.bspenance.org. This retreat is not a promotion for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, but is a sincere opportunity to share your time with the Lord.
May God bless you and guide you in your journey home!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Nothing new to report. Archbishop Nienstedt desired to look at the Handbook before it was published. It is presently in the hands of the Censor Liborum, i.e. Censor of Books, for the Archdiocese. Once he edits it the Archbishop will review it for final publication. After that it will be available for publication. Sorry for the delay, but it is a good thing to have our Archbishop approve it before publishing. It includes the Rule, Statutes, prayers of the Rule and much more and so will be a helpful guide to us all.
AS THE EASTER SEASON ENDS:
This Easter Season, I am grateful to God for giving me a very deep awareness of His personal love for me as His beloved daughter. I am aware of His infinite love for me -- regardless of my various sins, faults, failings and weaknesses. I am happy to realize that He loves each and every one of us as if we were the only person He had ever created. This awareness makes me want to love Him in return with all my heart, soul and strength (cf. Dt 6:5). Furthermore, His unconditional love for me inspires me to continually strive -- despite setbacks -- to obey His commandments, to please Him and to praise Him, not out of fear, but out of LOVE. Indeed, loving Him in return means that "his commandments are not burdensome" (1 Jn 5:3b), and that we find true joy in obeying Him and striving to please Him in all things.
May Our Risen Lord Jesus bless YOU with a strong awareness of His personal love for you! I pray that you will place all of your trust in Him.
Peace and love in Christ and Our Lady,
Lisa Drago BSP—Virginia
PELIANITO MESSAGE…FROM THE WEB
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
1 John 1: 1 Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
"My beloved, never has it been more critical that my children test the spirits whose voices are heard—especially in this age. It was for times such as these that I established my church on a rock. Without that sure foundation, you would be blown about by every wind of doctrine. But cling to that rock and you will be able to stand firm in the truth. Do not be afraid, but with confidence, hope, and trust, speak the truth in love as the Holy Spirit leads you—always gently, never wavering, firm, but never unkind. Child, do this and you will win more souls than with many impassioned arguments."
Jesus in Mary, teach me how to speak the truth firmly and lovingly for the sake of souls, as your Mother did. Without your grace I cannot do this. Jesus help me. Amen.
GERMAN WEB PAGE FOR THE BSP:
We are delighted to report that we now have a German Web page at: www.poenitenten.com
It was created by Martin Wolter BSP of Moosach, Germany over the past several months. He translated key documents from the English Web Page to German! If you know German you will be able to read it. Thank you Martin!
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear."
By Leonardo da Vinci,
Ultima Cena, Milan, Italy, Convento di Santa Maria delle Grazie.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF PENANCE OF ST. FRANCIS
a.k.a. BSP, is a non-profit Private Association of the Faithful, which is dedicated to renewing the ancient way of penance as contained in the First Rule of the Third Order of St. Francis of 1221 for lay people in our modern world. We have the blessing of the Catholic Church to do this through several of its bishops. If you are bound by another Rule of life in another profession of the way of St. Francis that does not permit you to enter other religious families you are nonetheless invited to become an Honorary member of our Association and add the elements of this beautiful way of life that Saint Francis of Assisi gave us to the lifestyle of your profession.
All members, and Franciscans, are welcome to submit articles for consideration for inclusion in this newsletter if they are directed towards the spiritual formation of members or are the outgrowth of the lifestyle of the Association. Just send them to the BSP at
email@example.com. Feel free to share this newsletter with your friends or neighbors. It is intended to be the primary monthly communication of the Association. And if you can find it in your heart and in your budget remember that donations to the BSP are used strictly to promote the lifestyle and are tax deductible.
We remain, always, sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ!
Bruce and Shelley Fahey BSP
Welcome to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance!